The word ''empathy'' is becoming my worst word

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auntblabby
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21 Jun 2018, 10:43 pm

^^ you made PERFECT sense :idea:



xatrix26
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22 Jun 2018, 10:04 pm

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Compassion in this case is obviously implied.

I think it's important to understand for those who don't seem to understand here what empathy really is is that just because you don't have empathy doesn't mean you're a monster or something. It just means you don't have empathy. And for those of us who have hyper empathy as I do, it just means that you can't turn it off and you're obsessively compassionate too.

Empathy is a skill that can be learned just like anything else and Autistics have the ability to change and adapt but only with great effort. But it can be done.


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22 Jun 2018, 10:31 pm

This week APOM posted a thread about the murder of a very young AS boy. He was killed because he peed on the carpet (it was reported). Why I am referring to that filicide here is that when these terrible murders are reported there is a distinctive lack of empathy - noticeable by its almost complete absence - by the NT population in the media and in comments sections. They don't have any compassion for the murdered children either. What kind of people are they?
They respond very differently when the victim is an NT child. So I think there is something really off about the theory of mind in many neurotypicals that underlies their silence or support for the murderers.



auntblabby
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22 Jun 2018, 10:37 pm

hmmmmm….. :scratch: the NTs diss the TOM of us auties, but some of their own TOM is dodgy as well, like it is mutually exclusive. the thing that scares some NTs concerning us auties, is that in their minds they lump our clumsy empathy to the evil lack of empathy shown in the Nuremburg trials ["I was only following orders"] which is ironic because I see that very same Milgramian failure in seemingly NT administration flunkies these days.



Spooky_Mulder
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22 Jun 2018, 11:21 pm

I hate how many NTs see this - they see lacking empathy as lacking compassion.

I lack empathy since I find it difficult to understand what others are thinking or feeling. But, I have an excess of compassion - perhaps even more than many NTs. I'm brought close to tears a lot due to the hardships people face and at every family funeral I've cried more than everyone else. I have an excess of compassion.

They take "lack empathy" as being cold and spiteful. For example, many are saying that Trump has aspergers because he lacks empathy. Trump has been diagnosed as being a narcissistic sociopath. So, NTs are basically saying we're narcissistic sociopaths which is just not true.



joe_ls622
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23 Jun 2018, 7:21 am

I think it refers to what they call cognitive empathy, which means understanding how other people feel based on body language and hints. And many people on the autistic spectrum aren't good at picking up hints, social cues, unspoken language. Then, others don't have too many issues with it, it really depends on the person.

If we're talking about empathy defined as understanding what people go through, walking in their shoes, sympathyzing etc. then I think most humans aren't that way...



shadowself
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23 Jun 2018, 9:06 am

It is a fair point, mentioned several times in this thread, that empathy has many definitions. It is redefined based on who is using the word, and in which magazine pop-psych article, scholarly article(which often no more thoughtful and deep than pop-psych), or defined by what any given person thinks it means. Sometimes empathy is referred to as an action - actively listening to someone with the eyes and ears and other senses, reflecting back to them exactly what they've said periodically without interpretation or judgement- in order to allow another person to know they have been heard and understood. I have seen quizzes that claim to assess empathy like a meyers-briggs personality test, and I have heard people argue at length about the difference between empathy and sympathy and compassion.

It is nice to all agree on a definition of a certain concept-word so that communication is clear, but the boundaries between empathy, sympathy and compassion are not(IMO) clear at all.

Here are some dictionary definitions that may clarify or further confuse the point: :lol:

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Definition of empathy
1 : the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this
2 : the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it

Definition of sympathy
plural sympathies
1 a : an affinity, association, or relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the other
b : mutual or parallel susceptibility or a condition brought about by it
c : unity or harmony in action or effect

every part is in complete sympathy with the scheme as a whole —Edwin Benson

2 a : inclination to think or feel alike : emotional or intellectual accord

in sympathy with their goals

b : feeling of loyalty : tendency to favor or support

republican sympathies

3 a : the act or capacity of entering into or sharing the feelings or interests of another
b : the feeling or mental state brought about by such sensitivity

have sympathy for the poor

4 : the correlation existing between bodies capable of communicating their vibrational energy to one another through some medium


Sympathy vs. Empathy

Sympathy and empathy are closely related words, bound by shared origins and the similar circumstances in which each is applicable, yet they are not synonymous. For one thing, sympathy is considerably older that empathy, having existed in our language for several hundred years before its cousin was introduced, and its greater age is reflected in a wider breadth of meaning. Sympathy may refer to "feelings of loyalty" or "unity or harmony in action or effect," meanings not shared by empathy. In the contexts where the two words do overlap, sympathy implies sharing (or having the capacity to share) the feelings of another, while empathy tends to be used to mean imagining, or having the capacity to imagine, feelings that one does not actually have.

Empathy v. Compassion
Some of our users are interested in the difference between empathy and compassion. Compassion is the broader word: it refers to both an understanding of another’s pain and the desire to somehow mitigate that pain

In essence, Sympathy, Empathy, Compassion are three words that have deep connection in language and meaning, and there are huge differences in human understanding of these words too. If a person is told often enough that giving money to beggars is an act of compassion[and told only that much], they might consider that to be it's meaning, and themselves to be compassionate, even if they scorn the beggar with words while giving out of pocket.

Don't assume you lack empathy. The persons who say this person or that person lacks empathy may just as well be unclear on what the heck empathy, sympathy, and compassion are, and how to practice them. Most aspies seem to show great empathy for young children and animals, and all creatures that seem helpless[and also incapable of judgement]. If someone says I lack empathy, in my personal experience, it means they think I have not heard and understood them, or someone they care about. The moment they feel heard and understood, they'll change their tune, because their accusation of lack of empathy is really about how they feel and perceive. I could ask then.... do they lack empathy too? or do I simply meet some number of people with whom standards of communication presents a barrier to demonstrating the empathic ability I do possess?

These are just my thoughts. Hope it is not too long or unfocused.

edit: One thing that seems common in many articles I have read online about empathy[definitions too] is that what is being described as lack of empathy is actually a description of lack of sympathy. A person may be trying to understand feeling they do not have[an act of empathy] and not succeeding fully. In fact, a person cannot have true sympathy at all if they have not experienced the same thing, or nearly the same.
Sympathy means: "I literally know how you feel because I have experienced it before in a very/completely similar way."
Empathy means: "I am attempting to understand how you feel actively, whether or not I have the life experience to actually know(sympathize).
ex. I used to thing I could sympathize with the feeling of a broken collarbone because I had broken an arm and some ribs in the past. And it was partly true... Then I crashed a bike and broke my collarbone. Now I can fully sympathize.


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auntblabby
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23 Jun 2018, 4:52 pm

ouch :o and I thought a busted elbow was ungood. :o



shadowself
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23 Jun 2018, 6:51 pm

^ It never seemed like such a big deal. Then, when it was broken, I realized that it moved every time I breathed and I couldn't lie in any position, even on my back, without shifting it. It wasn't very painful all the time, but it wore me down day and night. On the plus side, I told myself constantly that it would heal fully and return to it's previous shape, and it just about has, aside from a slight lump. :-D

I have heard that a busted elbow can be awful too, and oddly enough I have heard a broken foot described as one of the most painful injuries, long-term.


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auntblabby
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23 Jun 2018, 9:50 pm

shadowself wrote:
^ It never seemed like such a big deal. Then, when it was broken, I realized that it moved every time I breathed and I couldn't lie in any position, even on my back, without shifting it. It wasn't very painful all the time, but it wore me down day and night. On the plus side, I told myself constantly that it would heal fully and return to it's previous shape, and it just about has, aside from a slight lump. :-D

I have heard that a busted elbow can be awful too, and oddly enough I have heard a broken foot described as one of the most painful injuries, long-term.

the padding seems to have evaporated from my feet bottoms in my old age, and can tell you that when your feet hurt, it messes up everything else. anyways, took me about a year to heal the elbow and it is not quite what it was before. I treat it with more kid gloves than my other elbow.



shadowself
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24 Jun 2018, 7:47 am

^ yikes. A whole year! I have been fortunate to be generally healthy and able to heal quickly.


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auntblabby
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24 Jun 2018, 4:26 pm

shadowself wrote:
^ yikes. A whole year! I have been fortunate to be generally healthy and able to heal quickly.



when you get to be my age, healing takes markedly longer for just about everything major. when I say healing in the context of my elbow, I mean to where I am no longer constantly reminded that it was shattered every time I move it. it is not totally healed in terms of being just as it was before, my range of motion is less than before and it is notably stiffer in movement. rock star Bono had a similar injury which caused him to not be able to play guitar like he did before. it is a life-altering injury.



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24 Jun 2018, 4:52 pm

Everything takes longer to heal as one gets older. Even simple things like small cuts may take several weeks to heal where as they used to disappear in a couple of days. When biking I slipped on some wet grass and then my right knee hit the pavement hard. Nothing was broken, but I could not kneel on that knee for about 10 years.

So, I have empathy for you both. :D I mean, I really do feel for your injuries, but doubt if what it is is empathy. :D

I always thought empathy was absorbing the pain of another person, and in that way the other person feels less pain.


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auntblabby
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24 Jun 2018, 4:58 pm

blazingstar wrote:
Everything takes longer to heal as one gets older. Even simple things like small cuts may take several weeks to heal where as they used to disappear in a couple of days. When biking I slipped on some wet grass and then my right knee hit the pavement hard. Nothing was broken, but I could not kneel on that knee for about 10 years. So, I have empathy for you both. THIS IS A JOKE. I always thought empathy was absorbing the pain of another person, and in that way the other person feels less pain.


can you kneel now? there is empathy of the heart, and empathy of the head. I have it of the heart more than of the head, IOW when I see somebody hurting I instinctively hurt also, I can't turn it off. as I get older it gets stronger. I wonder how much Stendahl's Syndrome plays into this phenomenon?



George9
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24 Jun 2018, 6:12 pm

People today frequently confuse compassion and empathy. Empathy is the is the ability to share the feelings of others and is only one path to having compassion, which is concerns for the problems of others.

I feel that while I have no empathy I have more compassion than the average person.

May I recommend the book "Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion" by Paul Bloom. It not only makes this distinction but argues that empathy is one of the worst paths to compassion that there is.